Save the Fingerlings

Save the Fingerlings Activity

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Did you know that a baby fish is called a fingerling? Help your kindergartener or first grader save fingerlings from the rough current of the whirlpool while introducing the concept of addition. This cute and funny math game is a great way to hone number recognition skills.

What You Need:

  • Pair of dice
  • 30 counters per player (plastic chips, pennies, buttons)
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Ruler

What You Do:


Create The Board:

  1. Create a 7" x 7" square. Measure 1 inch in from both sides of the paper to create two long rectangles. Divide the center square up into 9 smaller rectangles (two lines down and two lines across).
  2. Write "12" inside the left rectangle, and "2" inside the right rectangle.
  3. Number the squares consecutively starting with the number "3" in the upper right corner, working down to "5" in the first row. The middle row has "6" at the top and "8 at the bottom. The left row of squares starts with "9" and finishes with "11" in the last square. Bold the lines around the center "7" square.


Play The Game!

  1. Have each player count out 30 math counters. Each of their counters represents one fingerling. The game board, referred to as the "whirlpool," should be positioned in the center of the table.
  2. Each player will take a turn rolling the dice. After rolling, a player will add the dice together and then place that number of "fingerlings" (counters), on the corresponding current, or number. If he rolled a 2 and a 4, which equals 6, he would place 6 fingerlings on the number 6.
  3. If a player rolls two numbers that equal a sum that's already occupied on the game board, instead of having to place fingerlings on the board, he gets to rescue the fingerlings on that number and put them in his fingerling "haven."
  4. The center box 7, is the "fingerling multiplier." When a player rolls a 7, he has to add 7 more fingerlings to the whirlpool (game board) on any numbers he wants. Also, if he rolls either a 2 or a 12 on two consecutive turns, he'll need to place a fingerling on each and every current (number) on the game board.
  5. If a player loses all of his fingerlings, he's out.
  6. Play until there's only one person left, or until time is called.
Updated on May 19, 2014
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